"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Friday, July 22, 2011

Laird Hot Springs-the good, the bad and the ugly

After passing Fort Nelson, we began a western stretch of over 200 miles of winding roads through the Canadian Rockies. Meandering rivers, thick forests and towering mountains greeted us at every turn. What a wonder!

Herds of wild horses delighted us. This is open range at its finest.

All different colors and markings, they looked so free and contented.
No fences, no halters, no metal shoes.

Next, the bison appeared with
their massive bulk.
We idled quite a while, taking in their size and shape.
What strange looking animals.
I'd never attempt to argue with one of them.
Do you know that some of the Indians in Montana had a cliff that they ran the herd of buffalo over? We saw it while driving through that state. Called Buffalo Jump, I believe. Hard to imagine these huge beasts running in a stampede only to end free-falling through the air.
The saving grace was that the hunters respected each animal and used the meat, skins and all to feed and shelter their families. Still, what a hard image to think about...

I have to include this pic of a very weary driver.
By now, dear reader, you must be aware that northern motels were very few and far between. And the caliber is not quite what we might prefer. We decided to stop at the Laird Hot Springs Inn so that we could take advantage of the natural hot springs there. The walk to the springs is through a rain forest path with warm, swampy water surrounding a long boardwalk through the trees and ferns. The water is terribly hot, scalding in places and very non-commercial. We soaked away the weariness with other travelers at 11 pm, relishing the daylight that still lingered so far north.
But--the room we had--well, in a while we will laugh it off. But, not quite yet. It was WAY overpriced and consisted of a small bed (barely double-sized) and a curtain separating a bare-essentials bathroom. Threadbare carpet on the floor. Neither a clock nor tissues nor morning coffee came with the room. Never mind a TV or WiFi. No desk clerk. No phone. Not even a clothes hanger for our jackets. But, we felt so relaxed after the hot, mineral springs and were so tired from all the miles behind us that we slept hard. Woke up early to bright sunlight that began about 3 AM and left that place ASAP. We grumbled about being ripped-off, big time!

Once on the road again, we rejoiced in the fresh, pine-scented morning air and laughed (a bit weakly) about the gas costing $7.00/gallon but thankful our tank was once again full.
The Laird River sparkled in the sunlight to our left and the sky was so blue. Before long this lovely, wild horse lingered in our view and all was well.
Very well.

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